HSBC bank set to close further local branch

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HSBC Building, Prescot. Pic © Google Street View.

HSBC Building, Prescot. Pic © Google Street View.

Another local bank branch owned by HSBC is set to close later this year just months after two others were shut in Aigburth Road and Woolton.

The Eccleston Street building, located in Prescot, is to be shut down on December 9, HSBC has announced.

The bank claims that 90% of its clients now use online banking, the telephone or their smartphone for payments, leaving less demand for high street services.

A spokesperson for HSBC said: “We continually review our network to make sure our branches are in the right locations for our customers and we have a sustainable network for the future.

“Over the past five years, we have seen an overall reduction in footfall at our branches of more than 40%, and sometimes we have to make the difficult decision to close branches.

“These are not decisions we take lightly and we work closely with those impacted, including customers, to help them understand their options.”

HSBC’s decision comes in the same year that Lloyds Bank closed two of its bank branches in July – in Bebington and New Ferry.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) released figures which show that bank branches across the UK have halved in the last 25 years to little over 8,000 outlets, with that number predicted to halve again within the next 10 years.

FSB Merseyside, West Cheshire and Wigan development manager, Phil McCabe, believes that the decline in banks nationwide is a serious issue for clients and businesses looking for customer service.

YouTube: BBC News

He told JMU Journalism: “The problem with the banks closing is there are fewer staff on the ground, and less bank managers who know business and are empowered to handle lending transactions.

“Instead we have this computer sense of ‘no mentality’ when it comes to explaining lending risks.”

The FSB has launched a campaign under the hashtag #Loveyourbranch in order to “look for a middle ground to the transition and preserve the branches that exist”.

Mr McCabe said: “There are people who rely on or value their local branches. For businesses who deal in cash and cheques, routes like internet banking isn’t an obvious route to go down.”

About Matthew Maguire, JMU Journalism